When we first starting planning our trip to Paris, I knew I wanted to squeeze in a short cooking class if possible. My top choice was Le Cordon Bleu, for obvious reasons.
A search on their website quickly revealed a list of recreational classes and in the end, I signed up for a macaron class, specifically on making "violet macarons". Though I adore macarons, I wasn't looking specifically for a macaron class since I felt I'd already come a fair way towards making them and there are so many other French pastries I'd love to see/learn how to make. In truth, it was the only class that worked for our schedule and the timing was just a mere 5 1/2 hours after our overnight flight touched down in Paris from New Jersey.
Well, I very happily and excitedly arrived at Le Cordon Bleu Paris around noon the first day of our trip. And I'm so glad I made it. The class was informative, enjoyable, and an overall fun experience I won't soon forget.
The nearly 3-hour course started with us doning our fresh Le Cordon Bleu aprons (I think that alone was worth the price of admission for some of us) before heading upstairs to our classroom. Chef Daniel Walter conducted the course, with help from a lovely translator, who provided the English for those of us who didn't speak French. There were roughly a dozen students in the class and we all watched Chef Walter demonstrate the steps to making a batch of violet macarons shells, with a cassis (black currant) and white chocolate ganache filling. Now in general, I am certainly more of a "conventional" chocolate or coffee macaron type person but I was excited to try a different variation.
Chef Walter thoroughly demonstrated each step of the macaron making process. He was professional, humorous, and informative. I really adored him. After he showed us how to make the macarons, it was our turn. Ingredients were laid out in front of us and two other assistants swapped out equipment and provided help when we needed it.
So for almost three hours, I watched and learned, shared a few laughs, mixed up my own batch of violet macarons, and got a batch of tasty treats to take with me. The recipe for the macaron shells we used during the class was very similar to the one I use at home and the taste and texture was likewise similar to what I expected. I picked up a few tricks and Chef Walter showed us a couple of interesting techniques such as brushing edible gold powder on the macarons and spraying chocolate on a separate batch of chocolate macarons.
I think my macarons came out pretty well. My husband says they were the best he tasted in Paris (of course...*wink, wink*). I thought the combination of white chocolate ganache with the black currant jam was an interesting and fairly easy technique to do at home. The chef mentioned we could do this with a variety of fruit from say raspberries to mango, which is a very intriguing thought and opens up a host of possibilites for the adventurous...
|One of my violet macaron creations. The topping is chopped candied violets|
At the end of the class, we were each presented with our certificate of completion (another wonderful momento) and I left, armed with a box of macarons and thrilled that I'd been able to attend this class.
My husband and son met me in the lobby (they'd gone exploring and getting lost for the last three hours) and we set off to really begin our vacation in Paris...but not before I stocked up on a couple more souvenirs to go with my newly acquired Le Cordon Bleu apron and dish towel.
Thank you, Le Cordon Bleu, for a wonderful experience!